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Energy-boosting foods for early mornings

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Pantry pick-me-ups

Start the day off right with energy-rich foods that are sure to satisfy picky eaters and hungry tummies alike!

Daughter eating breakfast

Keeping kids alert and energized between breakfast and the lunch bell is no small task. We spoke with fitness buff and blogger Laura Williams to hear her top picks for energy-rich foods to start your kid's school day off right. Williams holds a Master's degree in Exercise and Sports Science and works as the CEO and executive editor of Girls Gone Sporty. In other words, she knows a thing or two about healthy eating and fitness. Without further ado, here are her breakfast ideas for a strong start to the day.

1

Citrus fruits

Oranges

Citrus fruits are full of both sugar and fiber, which means they provide a quick jolt of energy without a sugar crash. Not only that, the aroma of citrus fruit has been shown to boost moods and awaken the senses.

2

Oats and other whole grains

As your child sleeps, his or her brain and body use up significant amounts of carbohydrates, diminishing stores necessary for mental and muscular function. Starting your child's morning off with healthy whole grains helps replenish these stores, giving his or her body the energy it needs to power through the day.

3

Berries

Berries are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, energy-boosting fructose and fiber, and are tied to boosting mental function.

4

Greek yogurt

High in protein and high-quality carbs, Greek yogurt is also rich in magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate energy release.

5

Eggs

One of the best ways to maintain energy throughout the morning is to start your child's day off with a source of high-quality protein, which will help keep him or her full. Eggs are a low-calorie protein source, featuring choline, a B-vitamin essential for metabolic and nervous system function.

6

Almonds or walnuts

Nuts are rich in protein and high-fiber carbohydrates, which can fill kids up and keep them satisfied. Walnuts and almonds are particularly good energy-boosters — walnuts have high levels of omega-3s, while almonds are rich in magnesium, which helps regulate energy release.

7

Water

Your child's body is made up of 50 to 70 percent water, and water is essential for every cellular function. Even mild dehydration can inhibit brain and muscle function, so staying well-hydrated is essential for waking up and feeling energized.

8

Leafy greens

Most people — especially kids — don't want to eat leafy greens for breakfast, but greens like spinach are high in folate and iron, which help prevent fatigue during the day.

Laura's meal ideas

Rather than just handing your kids a Ziploc bag of almonds and spinach on their way out the door (which would be weird and probably not sustainable as a breakfast option), Laura suggests combining energy-rich foods into one of the following recipes.

Blueberry lemon smoothie with spinach

Blueberry lemon smoothie with spinach

Puree 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup spinach, and 1 cup Greek yogurt with the juice of one lemon. The flavor and color of the blueberries will mask the spinach.

Egg and spinach omelet

Egg and spinach omelet

Whip together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup spinach, and 1/4 cup cheese with as many additional veggies as you wish for a savory start to the day.

Get the recipe here >>

Whole wheat toast

Whole wheat toast

Eat it with nut butter and half of a grapefruit. Rather than preparing wheat bread in the morning, you can actually bake your bread overnight in a slow cooker. Top with almond or cashew butter for a tasty update to basic toast.

Get the recipe here >>

 Oatmeal with nuts and berries.

Oatmeal with nuts and berries

Prepare 1 cup old-fashioned oats with 1/4 cup nuts and 1/2 cup fresh berries.

A quick morning boost couldn't be simpler. Simply pair one of the recipes with a glass of water, and your kids will be full of energy until lunch time.

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